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Foundations of Russian Culture

Foundations of Russian Culture

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By Alexander Schmemann
Translated by Nathan K. Williams
Foreword by Serge Schmemann

Paperback: 312 pages

A culture that demands only freedom from politics, while rejecting and shunning politics itself, remains inadequate, lifeless, and is ultimately doomed. In its turn, politics that rejects the spiritual oversight of culture inevitably degenerates into tyranny or anarchy, into corruption and mediocrity.

Inside this deceptively modest volume will be found a remarkably prescient collection of broadcasts, that are perhaps even more pertinent to the contemporary culture and politics of Russia than they were to the audience within the Soviet Union to whom they were originally addressed. Schmemann presents the complex history of Russia and analyzes trends and tendencies within its culture concisely and simply: showing them to be frequently contradictory and even mutually exclusive. He clarifies the multilayered meaning of “foundations”—its underlying building blocks, the spiritual, the political, the historical, as well as the cultural assets in literature, art, science, and philosophy. In these elements he shows what Russia is grappling with in its struggle to find a synthesis that draws both from its own unique elements and its historical and ongoing interconnectedness with the “West” and the “East.”

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